Sunday, August 4, 2013
Rosie the Riveter: Vintage Inspiration
I love the 1940's working girl styles that are being revived: bib-front overalls, side button wide leg pants, little shirts with button fronts, and head scarves. These WWII style coveralls are a cute way to look casual and vintage.
It could be the success of "Land Girls", the BBC series that has been such fun to watch that started the trend. Or maybe it's just the overall popularity of the 1930's and 40's that has opened up a new fashion look.
A few bloggers have been instrumental in showing us how these women dressed. "Unsung Sewing Patterns" has a great feature on women's work wear. This blog is full of inspiring work clothes and other styles from the past, not just fashion trends, so explore it to find more great details in apparel. Another great blog, "The Vintage Traveler" has regular features on workwear and sporting apparel. This article on overalls has great images and information on how women have worn denim and sportswear in the past.
If all of this has gotten you wanting to try a sewing up your own denim overalls, you might want to start with this new vintage inspired sewing pattern over at Eva Dress Patterns. It's got alot of cute details like side buttons and a full bodice upper body (not a bib front).
There are some great photos from the WWII era from the Library of Congress showing women working in the aircraft factories. These show us clearly how these women coped with dressing for the job. One well known image shows a worker in yellow coveralls with button sides at work. It's an inspiring photo on many levels. A quick bit of research will also bring up the one-piece coveralls worn by women. The Library of Congress set of photos has images of these as well.
If you are a difficult fit and want to sew your own overalls, try starting with a pants pattern that has a natural waistline, then adding either a bib front or full-body bodice to the pant waistband. In researching old photos, it is easy to notice that the crotch seems deeper or lower than how we wear pants today. This type of fit allows for more movement and reach. A tighter pant can be restrictive when attached to a bodice.
Here are a few easy to find sewing patterns that can be 'hacked' into this WWII overall look. I found pants with a true waist and princess bodices that could make up the bodice. You will have to add the side button (or zip), pockets and shoulder straps. I would suggest making up the entire pant with waistband first, then sewing the completed bodice to that waistband after a fitting, that way it can be adjusted to be the most comfortable to wear.
Bodice (from dress patterns): Simplicity 8864, Kwik Sew 3783, and McCall's 6646
Pants/Trousers (with true waistband): Vogue, 2532 view C, Kwik Sew 3363
The image here is an Etsy 'treasury' that I composed from Etsy items. If you like any, just click on the image and it will take you to that listing (have fun)